Have I the soul of a free man or the soul of a slave?

The last few days I’ve been reading The Richest Man in Babylon, a book originally published in 1926. Author George Samuel Clason shares financial advice through a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon. The style of writing is very Shakespearean- old english. It threw me off at the beginning but I felt myself getting hooked page after page.

I never thought I’d be reading a book on wealth building, but I’m incredibly thankful to have stumbled upon this book. It’s not only forcing me to think about my own financial life, but also teaching me the business and leadership skills needed for further professional development.

In the story, The Camel Trader of Babylon, the character finds himself as a slave to survive after making a series of financial mistakes. As he works as a slave, and ponder what the rest of his life will look like, he gets a wake up call when he’s asked: “Have you the soul of a free man or the soul of a slave?”

“The soul of a free man!!” he answers without a doubt.

“How can you call yourself a free man when your weakness has brought you to this? If a man has in himself the soul of a slave will he not become one no matter what his birth, even as water seeks its level? If a man has within him the soul of a free man, will he not become respected and honored in his own city in spite of his misfortune?”


It’s a powerful thought when you begin to think about yourself as either having the soul of a freeman or the soul of a slave. Have you a soul of a slave or the world? Have you the soul of a freeman? I certainly don’t think you have either one or the other. At times we may feel as though we are slaving away at our jobs, at school, and at all those things we’re required to do but we also have the soul of a freeman if we allow ourselves to.

In another words, “the soul of a freeman looks at life as a series of problems to be solved and solves them, while the soul of a slave whines, ‘What can I do who am but a slave?’.

What separates a soul of a freeman and a soul of a slave is one’s determination. Where the determination is, the way can be found.


The last few months have been a test of patience, determination, and trust in myself as I graduated with a Master’s degree and dived into the job hunting world. I can safely say I was determined, and I trusted myself to be able to find a job that I’d be excited to go into. A company I’m excited to join. Despite moments of anxiousness, nervousness, and fear of failure- I didn’t allow myself to fall into that fearful trap.

Over 6 interviews and two months later, I’ve officially signed an offer with a company that’s growing, expanding in more ways than one. Not only will I be working full time with them, but also continuing to learn academically through their business training program.  It’ll be busy and it’ll be tough but nothing good ever comes without hard work! In fact, reading The Richest man in Babylon is the first assignment and I’m already enjoying it so far!

I plan to share some my insights and learning with all of you, my dear readers, in the next two years as I embark in this new journey.

Published by Joanne Lam

📍 Toronto | STRONG w Joanne 💪 MovNat ACE & Agatsu Kettlebell Certified 🎯 Commit Confidence Consistency

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: